New Delhi: You may despise him, call him a rubble rouser, a bully, but you cannot ignore him in India politics now. He has audacity to challenge the most powerful political family, and the Congress party president, Sonia Gandhi, legally on many fronts.
Meet the BJP’s newly nominated Rajya Sabha member Dr Subramanian Swamy, who in his current avatar is enjoying all attention.
The substance of the last few days of Parliament proceedings can be summed up as ‘Swamy rocks’, no matter how one may look at it.
His latest salvo at the Congress chief is related to the AgustaWestland chopper deal, wherein, an Italian court’s judgment has mentioned Sonia Gandhi’s name four times, and at one point referred her as the “main driving force” in Rs 3,600-crore-plus deal.
Swamy raised the issue in the Rajya Sabha infuriating the Congress party to create ruckus in the House, compelling deputy chairman PJ Kurien to tell Swamy: “I am not admonishing you as this is your first speech in the House, but the name (references made to Sonia) is expunged.”
The veteran leader, who in his twitter account introduces himself as “former Union cabinet minister & five term MP, Harvard PhD in economics, professor, BJP member, I give as good as I get,” has hit the Congress party really hard.
Born on September 15, 1939, at Mylapore, Chennai, in a Tamil Brahmin family, Subramanian Swamy’s father, Sitaraman Subramanian, served as the director of the Central Statistical Institute in Delhi. He was a statistical adviser to the government of India. Due to his father’s job and the family’s Tamil roots, leaders like K Kamaraj, C Rajagopalachari and S Satyamurti often visited his father.
Swamy earned his Bachelor Honours degree in Mathematics from Hindu College, University of Delhi, and then took his master’s degree in statistics from the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata. He completed his PhD in Economics from Harvard University in 1965.
While studying at Harvard, he met Roxna from Parsi community, and later married her in June 1966. His wife, also a PhD in mathematics from Harvard, later abandoned mathematics for law and is now an advocate at the Supreme Court of India. It is said that his wife has been a constant support in all his legal battles.
As an associate professor at Harvard University, he was invited by (now Nobel Laureate) Amartya Sen to occupy the chair on Chinese studies at the Delhi School of Economics in 1969. He came to India to take up the position, but his appointment was cancelled due to his views on India’s economic policy. Swamy then moved to the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi as a professor of mathematical economics, but was removed from the position by its board of governors in the early 1970s, but was reinstated by the Supreme Court in the late 1990s.
This setback marked a new beginning, thereby, starting his bonhomie with politics. He bagan his political journey with the Sarvodaya movement, which led to the foundation of the Janata Party later. Since he had the opportunity to meet big political leaders at his home in his childhood, politics and its basic understanding grew in him automatically.
His political career at the outset was not smooth. Swamy has also the singular distinction of being expelled from Rajya Sabha. In 1976, when he was a first term MP on a Jan Sangh ticket from UP, he was expelled after a parliamentary panel found his conduct derogatory to the dignity of the House. For his expulsion, he blamed Indira Gandhi’s dictatorial attitude.
Swamy has been member of Parliament five times between 1974 and 1999. He represented the Mumbai North East Lok Sabha constituency twice between 1977-80 and 1980-84; Uttar Pradesh as Rajya Sabha member on the Janata Party ticket (1988–94) and Tamil Nadu on a Janata Party ticket from Madurai Lok Sabha constituency (1998-99).
Swamy got opportunity to become a cabinet minister of commerce and law in the short-lived Chandra Shekhar government. During this period, he also served as a member of the Planning Commission and claims to have provided the blueprint for the economic reforms in India.
A maverick politician, Swamy has been the original campaigner against corruption by bringing into light the 2G scam. Because of his efforts, the Supreme Court cancelled as many as 122 licenses issued to 11 firms and A Raja (minister of communications & IT from 2007 to 2009) was put behind bars.
As a crusader, Swamy also obtained Supreme Court stay against the implementation of Sethusamudram shipping canal project (SSSCP), and on October 14, 2015, he informed the Supreme Court that the government may not continue with the project.
Swamy, who is Known far his hardline hindu leader image, has set his target to get the Ram temple constructed in Ayodhya. He expressed confidence in an interview to a news channel that he would get it done legally through Supreme Court by end of the year.